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Cutchogue East unveils new indoor sensory path

Colorful stickers of logs, lily pads, ladybugs and more make up part of Cutchogue East Elementary School’s new indoor sensory path.

The ribbon cutting for the new sensory path took place Tuesday at the elementary school.

A sensory path is a series of guided movements and activities usually shown on the ground, in a hallway or on walls. It’s designed so students can follow the path and complete the movements as a way of working off excess energy, develop their motor skills and prepare them to better focus on classroom activities and instruction.

“It’s important for students to find time, when they feel a sensory overload, to have a moment to step away and engage in some really great activities to help them reduce their sensory overload and come back to the place where they’re ready to work,” elementary school principal Amy Brennan said.

For the ribbon cutting, Ms. Brennan was accompanied by district superintendent Shawn Petretti, assistant principal Kristina Moon, director of special education Meredythe Alliegro, sixth-grade special education teacher Stacey Tiamsic and three students.

According to Ms. Alliegro, the sensory path had been in the works for about a year. The path was installed in one night last week by the custodial staff, according to Ms. Brennan.

The sensory path was intentionally placed near a wellness room in the school, according to Ms. Brennan. 

The wellness room has meditation cushions and chairs, yoga mats and yoga blocks, a meditation mural and more.

The room was closed last year because of COVID but the school is looking for ways to bring it back this year, Ms. Brennan said.

“We’re kind of reintroducing the room back in and finding ways for us to be able to incorporate it and that sensory path was placed in that location intentionally to match with this room,” she said.

The sensory path is available for all students in the school. If students want to use it, they can just ask their teacher to take them. 

Teachers can also bring their students to the sensory path if they feel their students need a break.

“If teachers just feel like they need a movement break during the day, they can do it and it’s really for all students in the school,” Ms. Brennan said.

All teachers in the district will receive a detailed movement guide on how to properly use the sensory path, Ms. Brennan said.

The ribbon cutting ended with a demonstration from the students in attendance while they skipped and bounced along the path.

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